England manager Fabio Capello announcing the roster during happier times.
Fabio Capello has just announced his 23-player roster for England's home friendly against Hungary on Wednesday (12:00 PM PST). Only eight players who featured in the ill-fated World Cup campaign have been recalled, leaving fifteen places available for relatively fresh talent. The Chelsea boys were more or less spared Capello's wrath - Ashley Cole, John Terry, and Frank Lampard all retaining their spots - but it's pretty doubtful that Cole or Terry will get a rousing welcome from the Wembley crowd. Hopefully they cut Lampard a little bit of slack, because his effort against Germany bordered on the heroic, but I wouldn't could on that either.
Anyway, the trio of Blues are pretty boring compared to the roster that Capello has assembled, which includes some of the brighter young names in England. Ashley Young and Adam Johnson are England's future down the wings, assuming that Theo Walcott never learns to play actual football, and Young's crosses in particular will give the team a threat when opposite sides pack the box against them. In Arsenal's 18-year-old prodigy Jack Wilshere there's some real playmaking talent, vital if the team ever feels like playing with a style beyond traditional English kick-and-rush. There's even a promising goalkeeper in Joe Hart.
It really is a new-look England side, and I'm curious to see how they gel. Hopefully Capello will do some experimenting with the formation as well, since the England side seems built for a 4-2-3-1 with Wilshere alongside Barry, Johnson/Gerrard/Young in the third band, and Rooney up top. While the game obviously doesn't matter at all*, the way England play may give us some insight into the shape of the qualifying campaign for the 2012 European Championships.
*Except if Cole or Lampard get hurt I might explode.